International Railway Research Board (IRRB)

The IRRB’s mission is to effectively meet the needs of the railways in the field of research and innovation. IRRB research and innovation activities support the enhancement of railway transport at global level and contribute to the development of the scientific community through identification of relevant research topics.

International Railway Research Board (IRRB)

The objective of the IRRB is to effectively and efficiently promote the research and development activities conducted independently by UIC members and member railway research organisations (research institutions) worldwide so that they can contribute to railway development around the world. The IRRB also informs research institutions of the research needs and activities of each of the UIC working bodies, such as the Rail System Forum, Passenger Forum, Freight Forum and Platforms, and discusses common regional research needs and priorities. If R&D in these areas is not being conducted at UIC, the IRRB may put forward proposals to begin R&D activities or to engage in common benchmarking and research if common member priorities are identified. The IRRB works on all aspects of the railway system on a cross-sectoral basis.

Since its creation, the IRRB has become a platform for sharing output on common transport-related research and innovation topics. The IRRB examines how best to harness the potential of research and innovation for the benefit of UIC members worldwide through closer cooperation, building bridges between continents and exploring opportunities for global research funding.


With more than 200 members across all five continents, the International Union of Railways (UIC) is the worldwide organisation of the railway sector. One of its key objectives is to support its members worldwide in research, standardisation and innovation. Thus, in 2005, a special working body dealing with joint research, the International Railway Research Board (IRRB), was founded.

The IRRB prepares a strategic work programme every three years, summarising the key objectives of its work and outlining the manner in which responsibilities and tasks will be organised and implemented.

The IRRB has five key working areas:

  • Area 1: Updating of the “Global Vision for Railway Development” (GVRD); organisation of the global debate on mobility challenges for the future
  • Area 2: Requirements for the definition of global and regional research priorities
  • Area 3: Research expertise and capacity database
  • Area 4: Dissemination and knowledge exchange
  • Area 5: Global research and innovation awards
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